New York Mets get Daniel Vogelbach from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for rookie reliever Colin Holderman
NEW YORK — The first-place New York Mets added a much-needed punch to the designated hitter on Friday, acquiring Daniel Vogelbach from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade for rookie reliever Colin Holderman.
Burly Vogelbach, a left-handed hitter and a 2019 All-Star with Seattle, was batting .228 with 12 homers, 34 RBIs and a .769 OPS in 75 games for the rebuilding Pirates.
“We wanted to have an offensive player and we did that by landing Vogey,” Mets first-year general manager Billy Eppler said. “Someone who really excels against right-handed pitchers. We all know two-thirds of the pitchers we face are right-handed. So he can be a presence in order.”
Holderman, 26, is 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15 appearances spanning 17⅔ innings.
“We are really delighted to be working with him,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “He’s had big league success before and he’s someone who’s going to come on our pitching team now.”
New York, which started the day with a 2½-game lead in the NL East over defending World Series champion Atlanta, got little production at DH from JD Davis and injured Dominic Smith.
Davis, a right-handed hitter, is batting .234 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and a .670 OPS in 62 games and 197 plate appearances. He’s made 38 DH starts, most of them on the team.
Vogelbach’s arrival probably most directly affects Smith, however, making his future with the Mets uncertain. A left-handed hitter, Smith batted .194 without a homer, 17 RBIs and a .560 OPS in 58 games and 152 plate appearances. He was demoted to the minors earlier this season in an effort to get his bat started, then recalled later.
Smith was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained right ankle, retroactive to July 17. He made 14 starts at DH and 20 at first base to spell All-Star slugger Pete Alonso, who started 21 times at DH.
As the Mets faced San Diego right-hander Yu Darvish on Friday night in their first game after the All-Star break, left-handed hitter Travis Blankenhorn was selected from Triple-A Syracuse and started DH in eighth place in the lineup. .
Opponents are down just .186 against Holderman in his first major league season, and Eppler said it was “really hard” to part ways with him.
“In a way, we’re going to have to rob Peter to pay Paul a little bit,” Eppler said. “Some of the conversations I’ve had with other clubs have given me the feeling that there might be a bit more robustness in the relief markets than the bats. So we had to take advantage of that. opportunity to do so.
As the Mets and Braves prepare for a tight pennant race, Eppler moved aggressively to bolster his roster 12 days before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. New York ace Jacob deGrom and trainer Trevor May are set to return from injuries, persuading the general manager he could tap into his throwing depth.
“I went through a number of different iterations to try not to give away Colin in this trade,” Eppler said. “Pittsburgh didn’t have to move the player. They could keep him and they had an option for next year and many years of control. So we had to finally give them the player they pressed on.”
The 6-foot, 270-pound Vogelbach signed a million-dollar, one-year contract with Pittsburgh in March. The deal included a $1.5 million club option for 2023 with a $200,000 buyout.
Vogelbach, 29, can also play first base. He has a career OPS of .817 against right-handed pitchers, and 55 of his 61 major league home runs have come against right-handers.
He is a career .213 total hitter with a .745 OPS in 412 major league games in seven seasons with Seattle, Toronto, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
Cherington said multiple teams have called about Vogelbach over the past two weeks and talks with the Mets have intensified over the past two days.
“He loves hitting and he takes it very seriously. It’s really rubbed off both in the clubhouse and in the dugout on our young players,” Cherington said. “We were very happy with the job he did here and we wish him all the best. It’s a great opportunity for him.”